Hospitalization in Turkey (2)
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.orgI am in my hospital bed. My operation went very well. (I have been postponing this operation for many years because of a stupid fear, taking a greater health risk with each passing day. Yes, I’m a human being with some degree of paranoia or whatever you call this sentiment which has been the fear of death for me. I totally believed that I would die on the operating table or because of some other complications, die a few days later after the operation. My preferred form of death was that my heart would stop at the middle of the operation. I kind of said goodbye to life, everything around me: My home, my beloved ones, the office, some friends who were not aware that I was saying farewell to them… This fear of death may also be the side effect of the anti-depressant I am using - not that I’m depressed or anything close to it - but my doctor prescribed it to me for unknown reasons. Maybe to regulate my blood pressure? My husband, who is a very clever man, pointed out to me that this fear of the operation may be the extension of this fear of death – which visits me twice every day since I started taking the pills - or what they call “dark thoughts” have shaped into the fear of an operation in me… I am closing the parenthesis. I have to.)
This morning (like the Nazım Hikmet poem, below) I ate breakfast for the first time for many days - the taste of bran bread, white cheese, black olives, tomatoes and Turkish tea felt like the best meal in the world. Walking in the corridor, being able to go to the toilet were two other bonuses. I feel great. Only one tube is left in my body. I will be discharged in a few days…
Nazım Hikmet wrote about simple pleasures of life becoming absolutely important while he was in prison…
Today is Sunday
By Nazım Hikmet
Today is Sunday.
Today, for the first time,
they took me out into the sun
and for the first time in my life
I looked at the sky
amazed that it was so far
and so blue
and so wide.
I stood without moving
and then respectfully sat on the black earth,
pressed my back against the wall.
Now, not even a thought of dying,
not a thought of freedom, of my wife,
The earth, the sun and me...
I am happy.
End of poem.
Everything is great except for Berkin. I have been shedding tears for the boy ever since. I thought of starting a “Flowers for Berkin” campaign some time ago. I knew he was unconscious but I felt like he would feel the positive energy coming to him from all around the world. I prepared a column, with suggested websites to order flowers and his hospital address and all other details so that we would shower Berkin with flowers, if not for him it would have been a morale boost for his family. If not, maybe a morale boost for other patients and their families and friends at the Okmeydanı hospital. But Berkin’s family did not like the idea because he was in intensive care and would not be aware of any flowers or anything. So I postponed my “Flowers for Berkin” campaign to when he came out of the coma…
I really thought a miracle would happen and he would wake up. But when it was in the news that he had gone down to 16 kilos, then it became evident that the end was near. I just cannot cry enough. I cannot go onto the streets… I am waiting for the time when I will feel well enough to take to the streets, to cry out loud, to visit his grave, to visit his family…
Meanwhile, there are some advantages in living in a hospital. You can walk around in pajamas, in slippers, like it is the most normal thing to do. You make friends. Melek Hanım from next door just gave me a loofa she knitted herself as a gift. You joke with cancer patients.
My unbearable affection for the food distributing personnel in hospitals did show its symptoms again, but I am making progress. I apologized to the food distributing guy one day after I asked him if they go through special training to be mean to patients. He believed it when I told him that the reason for my bad behavior could be because my blood sugar level may have dropped, etc. He accepted my apology. He is a nice person and I am a bug. Yes, I know.
With this opportunity I want to thank my best friend Prof. Asiye Yapıcıoglu Perek, for her skilled hands, her wonderful team of at the Cerrahpaşa Genel Cerrahı Gorbon C Service, the wonderful people, the nurses, the personnel, the cleaners, the assistants, the food distributors. There is one thing lacking here and that is green ink. (The joke)* I’m just kidding. I have received superb care here. I want to celebrate the medical staff for the March 14 Medical Holiday.